Sunday, August 23, 2009....
Sometimes I get a brilliant thought which I believe to be a fabulous idea until I execute it. I would say this holds true with every household project I undertake by myself with no guidance. However, today's post has nothing to do with me destroying my home under the guise of beautifying it. Instead it is about a 'fun and EASY' evening I planned the other night.
Hubby is out of town. He went tuna fishing, but Hurricane Bill put an end to that thought. However, he's still away with his brother and I had some free time on my hands.
I thought, why not go see the Julie/Julia movie with a gf of mine, but cook one of Julia's meals prior to the movie. Not owning any Julia cookbook, I went to the bookstore to purchase her cookbook that made her a household name "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".
In addition to this book, I picked up several other cookbooks (like I need more cookbooks) and poured over the pages of them. Cookbooks are my version of crack to a crack addict. I become lost on the pages.
Originally, I planned a roast chicken + some veggie + chocolate mousse. My friend is limiting her carbs so I was tossing out the starch. However, she asked if I would make Beef Bourguignon and I said sure.
How hard could it be? I'm always braising foods in the winter (osso bucco, stew, ribs). The longer a dish cooks, the happier I am.
The directions were simple, intricate, but simple -- however, no store around me sells a SLAB OF BACON. What's up with that? Sliced bacon worked out fine. The meal was tasty, but I want to note the following:
1. Why did I have to flip to two additional recipes to make one dish? I had to cook the mushrooms and onions separately and an ill prepared person (me and the fact I sometimes have the attention span of a knat) may have not read the need for cheesecloth. Luckily, I was prepared. But I swear the cheesecloth I purchased resembled gauze more than cheesecloth. [Bonus for me when I fall again while racing for the phone, for a call I don't want, and bang up my knee (yeah, that happened - just call me grace-in-motion)].
2. Initially I thought Julia needed a little therapy as she stresses in each recipe to separate the meat, the mushrooms, the onions when browning them in the frying pan. After I got over my initial thought that she may be claustrophobic, I realized she wanted me to do this so the food would actually brown and not become mushy and soggy caused by steam if the food is too close together while cooking.
3. It is true. This woman loves butter. The mousse had 1 1/2 sticks of it in it (I have so much left over because my husband is the chocolate lover and not me).
4. I don't know if the food was FABULOUS. If you cook in 90 degree weather (yes the house has 2 window air conditioning units which don't seem to make it to the kitchen) you have no desire to eat or enjoy your work.
This meal took a total of 3 1/2 hours to prep and cook. Was it worth it? I think so. My friend enjoyed it. Well, she said she did. She saw the knives in the kitchen, knew how hot it was and possibly thought it best to say she enjoyed it to avoid a woman who may had become delusional from the heat.
We ended up drinking a great french wine and a bit of champagne before heading out. We both enjoyed the movie and I hope it spurs people to cook more at home.
Personally, I'd cook another Julia meal, but may wait until it is cooler and I have a sous chef to help.